Cranes, chimney stacks and construction sites – Bridget Flinn’s third solo show with Solomon Fine Art focuses on the cityscape within 5km of her studio in Sandymount, Dublin. These semi-abstract, urban paintings vary in scale and give a sense of depth, perspective and tranquility …
The new exhibition is a departure from your botanical work; each piece appears spontaneous yet balances colour and composition. Was this deliberate?
I like a change of subject matter every now and again. My first show with the Solomon Gallery was all flower based, my second was inspired by landscape and forestry. This one is inspired by the cityscape within 5km of my house and studio in Sandymount. It’s very interesting being restricted in one’s movements. It makes you look closer at your surroundings. I’m very lucky to live where I do because I’ve got the beach and the Liffey, the canal and the centre of Dublin on my doorstep. So not a bad place to be locked down! I’m also drawn to subjects with structure, cranes, construction sites, modern buildings. I like the juxtaposition of old and new, they often enhance each other. There is also a lot of colour in the modern buildings, including different coloured glass which I enjoy painting.
Did you paint the buildings from photographs?
There can be quite a lot of artistic licence used to create a pleasing composition. Sometimes, I make small sketches and I take photos. The photos are reference material, I use them to make a picture, not copy them. I take the photos to my studio and work up a painting. Sometimes the painting can emerge quite quickly, other times there is a lot of scraping back and over painting. Then I put them on the wall in the kitchen and live with them for a while to make sure I’m happy with them.
The artworks reflect a city in repose … Do you have any favourite buildings in Dublin, and if so, which?
The work was all done during the various lockdowns so maybe that’s why they have a feeling of tranquility. The centre of Dublin was mostly deserted, there are no people in the paintings. I like the kind of tranquility they convey, like “Hidden Café”. Some were painted during the winter, on a sunny day, like “Hawkins Street”. I loved the contrast of the very dark shadows and the very bright sunlight on the yellow stone.
I love a lot of the old buildings in Dublin – the cathedrals, Trinity College, as well as the old houses along the Liffey, but I also like some of the modern ones and I like the mix of both, it adds to the interest. My painting “Pink Glass” is a good example, with the traditional old Bolands Mill juxtaposed with the modern glass structure behind.
Where and how do you work?
I’m lucky to have a studio in my back garden. I have also been on a couple of artist’s residencies, to Cill Rialaig in Co Kerry and Ballinglen in Co Mayo. It’s good to get away and have a change of scene, and totally immerse yourself in the work with no distractions.
Need to Know: “All Around Me: New Paintings by Bridget Flinn” is at Solomon Fine Art, Balfe Street, Dublin 2 until July 17; www.solomonfineart.ie.